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105 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre
What do bags containing wheels of human skin, a computer hacker referred to as "The Bat," a serial killer named Genesis with a penchant for breaking into song, a girl band named Dessert, a hit song called "Mail Me," baby chicks, and a kid who clears his throat constantly during cryptic phone calls all have in common? Why, they all appear in Shion Sono's incredibly...
Published on December 30, 2004 by Jeffrey Leach

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gory but half-hearted social commentary
Beneath the surface, Suicide Club is more than just another stylized blood bath. The director Sion Sono's vision of a bleak satire/commentary on the state of modern Japanese culture is apparent throughout the film. However, the underlying themes are so poorly executed and unstructured that they are eventually lost among the bits and pieces of plot/characters/limbs...
Published on November 25, 2003 by Jeff C. Cho


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105 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, December 30, 2004
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
What do bags containing wheels of human skin, a computer hacker referred to as "The Bat," a serial killer named Genesis with a penchant for breaking into song, a girl band named Dessert, a hit song called "Mail Me," baby chicks, and a kid who clears his throat constantly during cryptic phone calls all have in common? Why, they all appear in Shion Sono's incredibly disturbing and impenetrable film "Suicide Club." I'm not the only person who adores these offbeat Japanese horror films: Hollywood loves them so much that studios are scrambling over themselves in a mad dash to buy up remake rights. I'm not so sure, however, that anyone in Tinseltown will knock themselves out trying to bring a new version of Sono's film to American screens. A scary ghost story about a haunted videotape has an appeal to audiences on these shores; a tale about kids taking their own lives in heinous ways as a result of the evils of mass consumerism doesn't. Can you imagine a corporation trying to figure out a way to place their products in a film showing children jumping off the roof of their school? I sure can't. I think it is safe to say that "Suicide Club" will remain a singular effort for some time.

Sono's film begins with what is probably one of the most memorable opening sequences in a modern horror film. A group of fifty-four Japanese schoolgirls--wearing those instantly recognizable uniforms--queue up at the edge of a subway track, join hands, and dive in front of a moving train. Oh man, what a mess that makes! The cops, led by Detective Kuroda (Ryo Ishibashi) launch an immediate investigation. Their query takes on decidedly ominous overtones when a white bag left at the scene is found to contain a wheel of stitched together human flesh. Good grief, Charlie Brown! Even my hardened soul recoiled at the sight of so much atrocity so early in a film. My finger strayed to the stop button until I decided to tough it out. Fortunately, the movie can't sustain its memorable opening scenes, and things start calming down significantly. That doesn't mean, however, that "Suicide Club" turns into a Disney film. The subway incident soon inspires other youths around the country to come up with grisly ways to take their lives, the worst of which is a scenario involving a bunch of kids jumping off the roof of their very tall school building. Suicide soon becomes the new "in" thing, something everyone wants to do. Kuroda and his men can't figure out this nightmare.

Then a mysterious website that appears to keep track of the deaths, and even predicts them beforehand with startling accuracy, comes to the attention of the cops. A hacker named "The Bat" soon contacts the police promising to track down the identity of those behind the site, and for the first time it looks like answers explaining the grisly suicides will come to light. Unfortunately, a wacko named Genesis kidnaps The Bat and her friends before she cracks the mystery. This guy and his cohorts live in an abandoned bowling alley where they keep their victims tied up in sheets. Genesis, after singing a song, admits to killing a large number of people. Is he the one behind the suicides and the website? Maybe, but kids keep dying after the authorities apprehend Genesis and his gang. Even Kuroda's family isn't immune to the tragedies sweeping the country. By the time he receives phone calls from a throat clearing kid who asks him cryptic questions about his "connections" to his family and others, the whole case seems impossible to solve. The focus of the film then switches to a young lady who finds secret messages hidden in products sold by the girl band Dessert, messages that lead her to a place filled with kids asking the same sort of questions Kuroda failed to answer. It's also filled with dyed baby chicks (?).

No one knows better than I do that "Suicide Club" is one strange film. Just when you think you've got a handle on the weirdness, Sono throws in another element that doesn't make sense. By the time the end of the movie rolls around, all sense of logic seems to break down. What exactly is Dessert's role in the unfolding madness? What does the song "Mail Me" mean, if anything? What is up with the wheels of skin, the kid clearing his throat, and the baby chicks? I think I can follow a few of these things, mainly that all of the questions about "connections" hint at the alienating aspects of pop culture and materialism. There is a sort of "monkey see, monkey do" facet of mass consumerism that is potentially life threatening, seen here in the way kids so readily take to the idea of killing themselves because others are doing the same thing. Life and death become mere commodities. I have no idea how that theme ties in with a bunch of kids sitting around applauding the answers to their questions at the end of the film, or the whole baby chick thing. Especially the baby chick thing, which is probably some symbol a Japanese audience would pick up on in a minute. For me, it's mystifying in the extreme.

As arcane as it is, "Suicide Club" still entertains. The gore scenes go appropriately over the top, but largely fall away as the movie expresses its social messages. I'm not ashamed at all to say I got a big kick out of Genesis's performance in the bowling alley; his song isn't half bad! Extras on the disc consist of trailers for "Suicide Club," "Between Your Legs," "Children of Hannibal," and "The Bathers." Sono's film isn't for everyone, and it holds on tightly to its secrets, but I guarantee you will find something in this picture that will grab your eye. Give it a shot.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To repair the connection to oneself...or to sever it?, October 9, 2005
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
In the brash and ghastly opening scene of Jisatsu Curabu (Suicide Club), fifty-four students from eighteen different high schools join hands, step up to the edge of the platform at Shinjuku Station, and jump in front of an oncoming train. The splatter of blood against the train windows and spray of blood on screaming and horrified onlookers, and blood pouring onto the platform, as well as the chaos at the station sets the stage for this drama on how living in an industrial metropolis like Tokyo robs people of their connection to themselves.

Officer Kuroda, a fifty-ish family man with two children, Sakura and Toru, is in charge of the case. At first, the majority of his fellow officers, like the bald Murata think it's too much TV. A cult perhaps? However, a call from a woman calling herself Koumori (the Bat) reveals something odd and sinister. Koumori refers Shibu to a website that shows a row of red dots (representing women) and white dots (men), and that 54 red dots appeared on the site, and also before the suicides were reported! To add to the sordidness, a roll of ten centimeter strips of skin stitched together is found in a white sports bag at the train platform. Some belong to the dead students, many whose remains body parts are a horrid bloody collage of legs, and uniforms on the autopsy table. Things are complicated further when another caller says assuredly, that there is no suicide club!

Murata's point that it's too much TV points to how impressionable teens are and how fads come and go quickly. Two days after the suicides, a group of high schoolers join hands and jump off the roof. Once someone says "Let's all kill ourselves," and everyone goes "Yeah!" it's sad how jaded they seem to be, little realizing that they'll never see each other again.

It's not just teens, but ordinary adults committing suicide, as seen in a series of skits. Before hanging themselves, four women loudly declaim that "life is a sin. You just cause trouble for others. Kill yourself before you murder someone." And a mother in the kitchen slicing some daikon (long turnip) keeps on smiling as she continues slicing her fingers AND the daikon, oblivious to the spray of blood. All her daughter says is "Dad, Mom's being funny."

And just what is the connection with Dessert, a quintet of cute girls (average age 12.5) who sing infectious pop-techno songs like the seemingly harmless "Mail Me"? However, it's a crucial line that may send out the wrong message. They also sing how the world's like a jigsaw puzzle and how somewhere's there's a fit for everyone. "Don't fit, you say? Then make it so. ...There's nowhere for my piece to go. Find a place that lasts forever. Perhaps I'd better say goodbye."

But throughout the carnage, emerges the theme of the disconnect Tokyoites have between their fellow comrades. A look at the faces on the subway cars yielded tiredness, emptiness, and unhappiness in their eyes. Indeed, the recurring melancholy instrumental theme reflects weariness at a life without meaning in the industrial waste of Tokyo.

On the phone, Kuroda is asked by a child who has a penchant for clearing his throat: "What's your connection to yourself?... If you die, will you lose the connection to yourself? Even if you die, your connection to your wife will remain." It also comes down to the loss of empathy between people: "Why couldn't you feel the pain of others as you would your own? Why couldn't you bear the pain of others as you would your own? YOU are the criminal." Indeed, Kuroda's own two kids, Sakura and Toru, are more addicted to the Net and to TV rather than their own family.

Maybe it's best to be like Mitsuko, the girl on the DVD. She is shocked, sad, angry, and betrayed when her boyfriend dives off a roof and lands on her, yet musters the courage to say, "I have to keep living." She is sullen, a bit harsh, despises stupid questions, but quite the realist, connected to herself.

Apart from the carnage, there are some disturbing scenes, such as forms writhing in sheets in an abandoned bowling alley, and apart from the message of connection, the point of enjoying life is ultimately revealed, per Dessart:

Scary it's true, but it's loads of fun too

To open up and feel the brand of life

For each and everyone.

Light yourself with life

Light yourself with love

Light yourself with memories

All it takes is just a little heart and courage on your part

As we go, we'll forget the pain

We'll feel life again.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "every day we push buttons that execute a million commands", December 10, 2004
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
Suicide Club opens with 54 Japanese school girls jumping off a subway platform in front of an oncoming train and just gets better from there. As a horror fan, I loved this movie for it's disturbing violence and genuine creepiness, but the social commentary and philosophy behind it is equally effective.

The opening scene was mindblowing for obvious reasons. But what made the movie even better after that was seeing how this effected the rest of society. If this actually happened, it would probably have an intense effect on everyone in the culture, in ways such as what we see here: it begins a wave of suicides across Tokyo.

At the heart of the story is a group of very young children, who make mysterious phone calls to the police, and ask questions with philosophical ramifications which would seem far beyond the comprehension of their tender years. While this seems ridiculous, I believe this group is shown as children because they represent truth and purity. If they had been adults, they would immediately appear to be sinister, and I don't feel that they were. While they seem connected to the suicides, it becomes clear that this is, in no way, their intention. The theme they present is that of being "connected to yourself" and "connected to everyone else." It is difficult for some people to maintain one connection without severing the other. How do I assert my individuality without alienating myself from my family, and from society? How do I take care of everyone around me without conforming to the will of the group? These are some of the issues the characters in this film are struggling with.

There is a scene later on that asks the age old parent-to-teenager question, "If all your friends jumped off a building, would you do it, too?" and answers it with disturbing results. The idea of being "connected to yourself" as an individual is examined here, and in the recurring theme of the J-pop group, Dessart. When the suicides begin to occur at a more rapid rate, one of the kids in the Japanese Junior Spice Girl group says, "Everybody's acting funny lately. We hope this song cheers everyone up!" Up to this point, I was looking at that little girl and saying to myself, "Yeah, right! You hope that song drives everyone to suicide!" But by the end, I was not so sure.

If we listen to the lyrics of Dessart, what we find is nothing so deep and philosophical, but something to appeal to people who may be lost because they are having trouble maintaining the connections the children are concerned with. The first song we hear, "Mail Me," says, "By phone or PC, MAIL ME, you should know as friends go yours is the best hello, MAIL ME, I need to hear from you now, or I'LL DIE." This is something that young people would be able to relate to if they were connected to others, but not to themselves. It is possible to be connected to someone else, but you will still be alright by yourself if you do not hear from that person. You will not die without communication from someone else. The inclusion of the J-pop group further illustrates this idea of connections--you can value the ideas of everyone around you without owning a pop group's CD just because "everyone has one." And the theme of suicide, committed because others are doing it--I can have empathy for that person feeling his/her life was not worth living without coming to the conclusion that my own life cannot be worth living.

The philosophy about connections becomes physically manifest in a clue the police keep finding--a chain of rectangular pieces of skin sewn together. It symbolizes pieces of individuals, all slighly different from each other, literally connected to each other.

At one point, the movie goes off on a tangent into a scene with a serial killer named Genesis, who performs a violent and Rocky Horror-esque musical number. This awesome, if puzzling, interlude is actually an example of a person who is completely connected to himself, but not to other people. Genesis has completely asserted his own individuality, but lacks a connection to human kind. He does what he wants without respecting the lives of others, and so he kills.

As the film progresses, it becomes apparent that the strange goings on do seem to be leading back to the cult of children. But it doesn't seem to be the children and their message that is causing the suicides, but rather a failure on part of those who speak to them to fully digest the message for themselves. When they ask, "If you die, would your connection to your loved one remain? If yes, then, why are you living?" they mean to make people understand that their connection to themselves is valuable to their life. Instead, people come away thinking that there is, in fact, no reason to live, because the connection they have to people would not be severed by their own death.

In the end, Dessart gives a final performance, and says, "Our final message to you: LIVE AS YOU PLEASE." Is Dessart connected to the mysterious children? The ending would tell you, probably so. In spite of their best efforts, their message was being corrupted and misinterpreted, and causing people more pain, so the children choose to end their mission.

Director Shion Sono examimes many themes present in Japanese culture, so it will help if you know a little bit about this before viewing Suicide Club. However, most of what he deals with, peer pressure, conformity, suicide, have universal interest. This is a brilliant movie, but takes a few viewings to fully absorb.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gory but half-hearted social commentary, November 25, 2003
By 
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
Beneath the surface, Suicide Club is more than just another stylized blood bath. The director Sion Sono's vision of a bleak satire/commentary on the state of modern Japanese culture is apparent throughout the film. However, the underlying themes are so poorly executed and unstructured that they are eventually lost among the bits and pieces of plot/characters/limbs scattered throughout the film.
As far as gore and shock value goes, Suicide Club won't disappoint fans of Audition or Battle Royale. The first 5 minutes of the movie inside Sinjuku station set a reverberating macabre tone throughout the movie with promises of wall-covering blood, strewn limbs and human-skin rolls (wink wink) to come. Director Sion Sono (also a noted gay porn director and experimental poet) does an excellent job creating and maintaining the creepy and sinister undercurrent throughout the movie. The problem is, the undercurrent simmers and simmers but never boils. The plot is at best non-linear and mostly illogical, peppered with characters with unclear motives, an out-of-nowhere Rocky Horror-esque musical number, and existential soliloquies that fans of Neo Genesis Evangelion would instantly identify. There are plenty of impressive moments throughout Suicide Club, but it is unclear whether they serve to enhance or befuddle the main mystery of the suicides.
It's really a shame because Suicide Club is really a social commentary with underlying themes that cut deep into the Japanese psyche. The suicides baffle police detectives partially because the truth is hidden somewhere in bubble gum pop music, internet message boards and instant messaging, phenomena on the other side of the generation gap. The suicidal slogan "To connect yourself to yourself" while trite to us Americans post-teens, is nevertheless an important commentary on the Japanese society that is historically obsessed with community and nationalism at the cost of individual liberty and identity. Perhaps the real horror of Suicide Club is that the premise of the movie, in the eyes of all the over-studied students, over-worked salaryman, and over-disconnected families of Japan, is not really that far fetched.
Unfortunately, all its earnest intentions at social satire are mostly drowned in the blood of Suicide Club.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rule of Suicide Club: don't talk about Suicide Club!, April 20, 2005
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
Shion Sono's "Suicide Club" ("Jisatsu Circle")is Japan's answer to the American subversive smash-hit "Fight Club", only this time it's disaffected Tokyo white-collar workers hooking up in basements and industrial sites across Hokkaido, ritually mutilating each other, then committing traditional Japanese hara-kiri (suicide). Too late does our hero realize that, unlike his trans-Pacific colleagues, "Suicide Club" isn't going to be a growth industry.

OK, OK, I'm just kidding---that's not what "Suicide Club" is about. I just couldn't help myself.

Buy this movie, then go through the house and turn all the lights off. Order some sushi and boil up some hot sake, and ponder this lethal dose of cinematic curare served up in the form of "Suicide Club", Shion Sono's night-gaunt cave spelunk into madness, teen-culture, conformity, identity, consumerism, and the unanticipated deadliness of girl-groups.

There's no point in doing a plot crunch of erstwhile Japanese pornographer Shion Sono's mind-warping "Suicide Club"; like his fellow countryman Takeshi Miike's equally ghoulish and puzzling "Audition", the less you know in coming to "Suicide Club", the more fun you'll have.

If you want a few bone fragments of what little linear plot the movie offers, though, I'll humor you---and if you're this far, chances are you already know about Suicide Circle's big bloody fishook of an opener: 54 giggling, smiling Tokyo schoolgirls link hands, count to three, and in front of hundreds of shocked and stunned subway commuters, hurl themselves into the path of an oncoming train. One! Two! Three! Wheeeeeeee!

The only things left in the wake of this horror (apart from a flood-tide of blood) are body-parts and a designer shoe-bag, so the police forensic team needs a strainer and plastic baggies to haul the evidence back to the Station.

Now that's what some might call a promising start---I certainly do!---but trust me, it's *nothing* compared to the unbridled tsunami of ghoulish creepiness and pure unadulterated ick that flows once this baby gets rolling.

The party is just getting started: as news of the atrocity on the subway platform filters out through TV and radio, the nation is gripped by a wave of copycat suicides among a wide range of people with no obvious connections. And what is the connection between the spate of suicides and the mind-rippingly awful girl-group "Desert" (or Dessert/Desart---the group name inexplicably changes)? Or the link to a website that is evidently tracking the suicides---*before* they occur?

When I first watched the film, I had unwittingly rented the R-rated Blockbuster DVD, which trims the opening bloodbath down to about 10 seconds of ruddy splashing. I soon realized my mistake, but it wasn't the opener that sent me running out of the house to buy my own copy: it's the breathtaking second sequence.

All I'll tell you is that most of the action in this sequence is filmed in almost unbearably long tracking shots of nurses navigating their way through the dark corridors of a nearly empty hospital. The sequence works---it's very subtle and you are convinced there are things happening just out of range of the camera that Sono is teasing you with---the director doesn't want you to see everything, not yet. That sequence alone was so cripplingly spooky that I rushed out and bought myself an unrated copy.

To be honest, when the credits rolled I contemplated returning the thing, perhaps saying it was defective. Having watched the movie in its entirety, I was baffled, confused, frustrated and annoyed. I was quite taken by the visual bravado with which Sono and his trusty DP Kazuto Sato shot the film: it goes in a heartbeat from creepy crawly ick to techno garish and back again. So what was wrong?

Certainly not the acting, which is all competent, surprising given the number of younger actors, and even though we obviously lose something in translation. The great Ryo Ishibashi squints and grumbles his way through another cop role (he also starred as the Police Inspector in the American remake of "The Grudge" and played against type as a film producer in Miike's "Audition").

Best of all, Sono ratchets up the level of grue and inexplicable vileness: the autopsy sequence calls to mind "The Thing", and rest assured you'll never look at a tuna roll in the same way again.

I think my problem with "Suicide Circle" is the film's abrupt shift, possibly psychotic shift in tone about 40 minutes in. Initially, I hated this mystifying claptraption; I felt cheated for having bought it---when on Earth, and why, would I ever watch the wretched thing again? If you feel that way after your first viewing, relax---that's normal.

But I've changed my mind. I still hate "Suicide Circle", but I'm now convinced that it's a work of diabolical brilliance, and I suspect that Shion Sono has created a kind of cursed masterpiece, a work of viral cinema that infects the mind of the viewer and insidiously replicates long after the credits roll. I say this because, quite frankly, I can't get the infernal thing out of my head, and the more I think about it, the more mesmerized I am by this gory-beautiful little puzzle-box of horrors.

"Suicide Club" is compulsively unforgettable and intellectually voracious: this is a film that positively squirms, teems, and writhes with ideas.

I can't stop thinking about it. I made the mistake of looking, now I'm forced to watch, even when I close my eyes.

JSG
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Failed social satire drowned in blood, December 1, 2003
By 
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
Beneath the surface, Suicide Club is more than just another stylized blood bath. The director Sion Sono¡¦s vision of a bleak satire/commentary on the state of modern Japanese culture is apparent throughout the film. However, the underlying themes are so poorly executed and unstructured that they are eventually lost among the bits and pieces of plot/characters/limbs scattered throughout the film.
As far as gore and shock value goes, Suicide Club won¡¦t disappoint fans of Audition or Battle Royale. The first 5 minutes of the movie inside Sinjuku station set a reverberating macabre tone throughout the movie with promises of wall-covering blood, strewn limbs and human-skin rolls (wink wink) to come. Director Sion Sono (also a noted gay porn director and experimental poet) does an excellent job creating and maintaining the creepy and sinister undercurrent throughout the movie. The problem is, the undercurrent simmers and simmers but never boils. The plot is at best non-linear and mostly illogical, peppered with characters with unclear motives, an out-of-nowhere Rocky Horror-esque musical number, and existential soliloquies that fans of Neo Genesis Evangelion would instantly identify. There are plenty of impressive moments throughout Suicide Club, but it is unclear whether they serve to enhance or befuddle the main mystery of the suicides.
It¡¦s really a shame because Suicide Club is really a social commentary with underlying themes that cut deep into the Japanese psyche. The suicides baffle police detectives partially because the truth is hidden somewhere in bubble gum pop music, internet message boards and instant messaging, phenomena on the other side of the generation gap. The suicidal slogan ¡§To connect yourself to yourself¡¨ while trite to us Americans post-teens, is nevertheless an important commentary on the Japanese society that is historically obsessed with community and nationalism at the cost of individual liberty and identity. Perhaps the real horror of Suicide Club is that the premise of the movie, in the eyes of all the over-studied students, over-worked salaryman, and over-disconnected families of Japan, is not really that far fetched.
Unfortunately, all its earnest intentions at social satire are mostly drowned in the blood of Suicide Club.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That's it everyone. Goodbye!, March 16, 2006
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
Suicide means something different in Japan. Laking any religious proscription, it has been seen as a valid method of escape from unfavorable circumstances. Even today, tales of internet suicide pacts are regular news items, with people who never knew each other before gathering to die together, and escape an intolerable existence. "The Complete Guide to Suicide" is a consistent best seller.

Director Sono Shion has attempted to capitalize, exploit and possibly understand this culture of suicide, taking the unusual stance of combining it with modern Japanese youth culture and teen-idol worship. The all-girl pop group "Desert" is an obvious stand-in for "Morning Musume," although Sono has taken their particular brand of harmless bubblegum pop and given them a darker, more destructive edge.

"Suicide Circle" starts out with a bang, to be sure. The opening scene is probably 90% of the film's hype, and the first thing everyone mentions when talking about the movie. All those cheery young girls throwing themselves off the train platform is something that sticks with you. From there, it becomes a detective story, as Detective Kuroda (former rock star Ishibashi Ryo) hunts for the reason behind the recent suicide epidemic, his only clue being a roll of human flesh, stitched together from pieces willingly cut from the suicides.

Unfortunately, the film falls apart with the introduction of the red-herring character Genesis, played by pop-idol Lolly, who bursts into a non-sequitur musical video that completely disrupts the established tone and pace. Perhaps Sono thought it was a bold and innovative digression, but it is one that ultimately fails and "Suicide Circle" never quite recovers.

Its too bad, because otherwise this could have been one of the great modern Japanese films. It is unsettling, atmospheric and ultimately unresolved, as an issue like this must always be. If you have a skip button on your DVD player, and time it just right, then it will be a very satisfying experience.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Pretty Sure I Liked This Movie, May 14, 2004
By 
This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
It was definitely confusing though. Immediately after finishing the movie I couldn't decide if I liked, or really did NOT like, "Suicide Club". I think much of the criticism stems from this being a Japanese social commentary, which is constructed very differently from American movies. There's no attempt to tie the loose ends or reason out the actions of the characters, although it's possible that some of the meaning was lost in the translation. Americans like their movies to make sense within the context of an overall plot. Making sense was not a top priority in this movie - the commentary was.
The central question is the relationship of self with respect to modern pop society. Regardless of WHO was doing the killing or HOW they killed, it is the degradation of core values in the face of pop commercialism that is symbolically killing the youth of Japan. In asking the question "what is your relationship to yourself", the older generation could not comprehend the paradox because they could not relate to the pressures and unknowns plaguing the younger generation. In their quest to understand their relationship to themselves, the younger generation turns not to a stable core society but to pop culture, which in turn kills them (via suicide).
I think the execution of the film would make much more sense to native Japanese, or perhaps they would not be as critical of the plot holes. The movie does meander, and the subplots are never fully explored or resolved. And yes, the whole character of Genesis seemed contrived, especially since I had no idea who he was or what he represented. Didn't like him torturing pets. Really didn't like his singing.
As for the violence, the movie isn't that gory. Certainly "Seven" was far worse, or for that matter "Kill Bill". In fact the blood scenes weren't done that well, but the cheerfulness the kids have before their suicides is chilling.
This is a good movie. The idea of cute Japanese girls slaughtering themselves alone is worth a look, and the social commentary is quite interesting. Just be prepared to end the moving asking "But what about..."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Intriguing, January 28, 2005
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This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
There is no doubt that Suicide Club will leave you haunted, and asking questions about what the plot was about. Shion Sono was more concerned about conveying a message than giving us a plot, and the confusing imagery and lack of connections between characters were part of the puzzle. However, I am still perplexed myself about many things, however, I truly enjoyed this movie.

The gore was great, all those neat little girls in their school uniforms joining hands jumping in front of a subway train. The kid s jumping off buildings had an enormous amount of shock value that kept you watching the movie in awe. The mysterious "Bat"

person, and the Glam Rock person that came out of nowhere, just to mention a few characters.

It's futile to try to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Sono's message is about what is happening to our younger generation today with all the pop culture and pressures they have. Trying to find out who you are when you're a teenager is a nightmare, especially today with all our new technology. We have computers, video games with lavish graphics, music videos giving you subliminal messages, and so on. So, these kids are confused, lack identity, and are depressed in this film and if suicide is the thing to do, or the trend it could possibly happen.

This is a dark satire about the vast differences between the older and new generation and lack of communication between them. As far as the film, if you can view it not expecting it to make a whole lot of sense, some of it will eventually make some sense.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, Thought-provoking and very disturbing., November 30, 2003
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This review is from: Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) (DVD)
With the begining of the film showing us the gruesome act of 54 joyous high-school girls jumping into the path of an on-coming train, "Suicide Club" is one of the most graphic and intensely bizarre films in any type of film. Here is a movie, the prime example of self re-examination, that will leave you in a twisted state of mind that you may or may not be able to comprehend. I found myself at the end of the movie, questioning my own beliefs and morals. "Do i actually have that connection w/ myself?" "Do i know myself as much as i believe?" "If i were to die, would my self-sacrafice make me closer to the people around me?" "Does my life matter?" It terrified me that a movie, of all things, could do this kind of thing to a person.
I also believe it to be a movie with multiple meanings. There is no possible way that every person who sees this will come up with the same meanings at the end. I found it to be giving a warning: Do not let pop culture and peer pressure influence your morality, common sense, pride and courage. You have the ability to say no or break free from the expectations of society and all their proverbial boxes.

Do not expect to see a movie of camera turn-aways when a person(s) dies, it shows all the blood, no censorship. And let me tell you, i was very happy to see such disgusting and disturbing images on my big-screen t.v.
"Suicide Club" is a great buy, even if you have not seen it before. I bought this movie w/out seeing it, and i was amazed. But it is definitely a movie you won't be able to watch day after day. You might have to wait a few days to watch it again because it will keep you thinking and keep you very, very disturbed. I know, i have only watched it once and still can't bring myself to watch it again yet...its been three days. Highly Reccomended for gore-fans, intellects, thinkers, philosephers and so on.
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Suicide Club (Suicide Circle)
Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) by Sion Sono (DVD - 2003)
$14.99 $12.58
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